The paper focuses on formulating a rhetorical aim for married couples and those wishing to be part of the institution someday by analysing the story I want a Wife by Judy Brady. It exposes the way wives are burdened with chores while the man does nothing. The paper brings out the views of the author and her styles of language in expressing remedies for chauvinism. The article explores how the author aims at irritating her audience as an eye-opener to the problems of inequalities experienced in marriage and indirectly provokes them to initiate change.
The issue about feminism was rampant in the United States of America towards the beginning of the 1960’s all through till the late 1970s. It became the talk of the town since women wanted to be given equal chances in the job markets and positions of leadership as well as enjoy the same privileges as the masculine gender. It was during this era that Judy Brady wrote the story I Want a Wife. In her book, she portrays men as chauvinists who would command women to sit at home, do all the house chores, take care of the kids, give birth, entertain guests at home and satisfy their sexual needs on their own accord. With all these, was aiming at exposing the mindsets of males in the American societies of how they view women and the roles they should undertake in marriage.
First and foremost, the rhetorical analysis of I Wants a Wife is aimed at exploring the arguments, styles of language and other tactics that Judy Brady uses to convince the readers that
women have been overburdened with a myriad of roles to play in marriage yet it should be a union where couples contribute equal efforts. She lists the expectations that a man wants from his wife by saying… ‘ I want a wife who will take care of my physical needs…keep my house clean…I want a wife who will keep my clothes clean, ironed, mended, replaced when need be… (Brady 1). The writer is fed up with the disparities that exist in doing household chores. It is unfortunate that the man does not recognise the effort put forward by the wife.
The writer explains this by stating that… ‘I want a wife who will care for me when I am sick and sympathise with my pain and loss of time from school…I want a wife who will not bother me with rambling complaints about a wife’s duties… (Brady 2). The woman is not supposed to complain when chores overwhelm her, she is not to rest but keep the interests of her man at heart, so he constantly feels good. But who wants to be subjected to that amount of slavery where they will not even have the time to rest. No one would agree, not in this time and age. The writer uses sarcasm, irony and humour to express her emotions on the story and she says …’ My God, who wouldn’t want a wife?’… (Brady 2). She skillfully presents her disappointment in how the male species have humiliated and frustrated women, so it does not appear that she is taking it personally.
Judy also targets a specific audience which comprises of married couples who have lived together for some time and bore children. In this social setup, the wife has been stereotyped to do certain kinds of work in the house without which she is not wife material. The man should just sit around and go to work because he is superior and should be served as stated by Brady (1)… ‘I want a wife who cooks the meals, a wife who is a good cook. I want a wife who will plan the menus, do the necessary grocery shopping, prepare the meals, serve them pleasantly, and then do the necessary cleaning while I do my studying…’
Additionally, this excerpt is also appropriate to men and women who haven’t entered the marriage institution so they can get a view of what goes on when people reach that stage. She is also targeting an audience who has a basic understanding of the English language and connects the meanings of certain terms and relates them to real-life situations. Throughout the story, the narrator is trying to expose her listeners to how unfair women are treated in marriage. But she keeps on repeating the phrase ‘I want a wife’ in every line and probably could be a way of irritating the readers from the man’s perspective and see his actions as unfair and inhuman. With this, she is hoping to change the minds of men in her audience to stop mistreating their wives and women to rise to stop submitting as slaves to their husbands. While creating this an impression in the minds of the reader, she assures them of her knowledge of what goes on in marriages since she has been married and even has kids (Brady 1). She is speaking out of experience hence developing a sense of trust in her audience which she uses to convince them to stop mistreating the feminine gender. She is skillfully putting a cry out there for women and how they are expected to work like robots and that someone should come to their rescue.
- Brady, Judy. “Why I want a wife.” As appeared in Ms (1971).
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